As a member of the Friday Squared Committee, I will admit that I was slightly disappointed by the turnout the event experienced last month. In June, the monthly summer event was competing with baseball, softball and other youth programs. I also believe the low turnout could be attributed to the fact that few vendors stepped up to participate. I heard several people remark that the event had less food and activities than were offered in July and August of last year. If you didn't attend any of the past Friday Squared events, or if you are debating on whether or not to attend this week, I would like to encourage you to stop by the square. You won't be disappointed this month.
Mindi Artherton, Cassville Area Chamber of Commerce executive director, went out of her way to ensure that this month's Christmas in July event is the best Friday Squared yet. Artherton recruited Santa Claus to visit the square and hand out free candy canes to youngsters during the pre-show block party, which will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. She also issued invitations to an assortment of businesses and vendors that will offer a variety of food concessions and activities for attendees of all ages.
Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase pizza, hotdogs, hamburgers, Polish sausages, brats and ice cream cones and sundaes during Friday Squared. The event will also give those in attendance the opportunity to pose for the cover of Connection magazine, win a variety of prizes, decorate cookies with Mrs. Claus or just enjoy live musical entertainment provided by Barry County Connection. There will be jump houses and glitter tattoos for youngsters, automobiles on display and shopping opportunities galore.
With Mindi's encouragement, nearly a dozen downtown businesses have stepped forward to offer special sales, discounts, treats and activities. The BBQ Station will offer a tri-tip meal special, Presto Espresso will serve $2 root beer floats and Commerce Bank employees will offer free popcorn and lemonade. Discounts will be offered on a variety of merchandise at Forever Yours Embroidery, Gussied Up Boutique, Sater Pharmacy, Smith's Clothing, Tomblin's Jewelry and Gifts, Towneley Furnishings and Whitley Pharmacy. The pharmacy will also offer a milk and cookie eating contest at 7:30 p.m. Friday night. Last year's ice cream sundae eating contest attracted a crowd of participants and spectators.
In addition to boosting vendor and business participation for Christmas in July, Mindi obtained an assortment of prizes from local businesses, which will be given away to attendees every 15 minutes on Friday evening. Those prizes will include: gift certificates to Geraldi's and the BBQ Station; a one-year subscription to the Cassville Democrat; merchandise from Forever Yours Embroidery; movie passes; and a $50 gift certificate from Tomblin's Jewelry and Gifts.
I am so proud of our local businesses and organizations for stepping up to take part in Christmas in July. I also want to thank Mindi for going above and beyond her normal duties to ensure that the July Friday Squared event offers something for everyone. I hope that area community members will reward the efforts of area businesses, organizations and our local chamber director by attending the event on the square this Friday.
Christmas in July is on track to be the best Friday Squared yet. Help the chamber and local businesses ensure that the event is a success by stopping by the square to shop locally and enjoy good food, fun activities and entertainment provided by a talented group of local musicians. Hope to see you there.